10 Worst Celebrity Car Accidents

Anyone can get into a car accident, including celebrities. Many celebrity car accidents produce minor injuries and go unnoticed by the public. But in some cases, car accidents claim the life of a celebrity and others involved in the accident.

Celebrity car accidents, like many public tragedies, can raise awareness of important social issues. These accidents involve many vehicle safety issues, including impaired driving, distracted driving, and speeding. 

Here is an overview of ten of the worst celebrity car accidents.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving slows your reaction time and interferes with your judgment. Some of the worst celebrity car accidents have resulted from a driver that was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, France, along with her companion and driver. 

French and British investigators agreed on three facts:

  1. Princess Diana’s chauffeur was driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs
  2. The chauffeur was also speeding at the time of the accident
  3. Paparazzi chasing Princess Diana’s vehicle drove recklessly and forced the chauffeur to make an emergency maneuver to avoid a collision

As a result of these findings, French authorities placed blame for the accident on the chauffeur. A British jury split responsibility for the crash between the chauffeur and the photographers chasing the vehicle.

Sam Kinison

Sam Kinison was one of America’s most popular comedians of the late 1980s and early 1990s. His shocking comedic style included shouting into the microphone.

He had a reputation for drug and alcohol abuse, but he was sober when he died in a car accident in 1992. A 17-year-old drunk driver crossed the centerline of a highway near Needles, California, and collided head-on with Kinison’s vehicle. Kinison died at the scene.

The drunk driver pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter and received one year of probation.

Jackson Pollock

The abstract expressionist artistic style exists in large part because of Jackson Pollock. Pollock’s paintings hang in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Italy and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Jackson Pollock was drunk when he crashed his car into a tree. The single-car crash killed Pollock and one passenger, while another passenger survived.

Ryan Dunn

Ryan Dunn, best known for his role on the Jackass television series on MTV, died in a car crash in 2011. According to witnesses, Dunn was driving his Porsche nearly 140 miles per hour when it left the road and struck a tree. The accident killed Dunn and a passenger, who also worked on Jackass.

An autopsy revealed Dunn had a blood alcohol content of 0.196%. The legal limit in Pennsylvania, the site of the crash, was 0.080%.

Billy Martin

Baseball player and manager Billy Martin led the Yankees to a championship in 1977. He also had a reputation for being a heavy drinker and died in a drunk driving accident. 

Although witness accounts conflicted over who was driving, both Martin and his companion had been drinking heavily when his pickup truck slid down an embankment.

Speeding

Speeding is another dangerous driving behavior that has cost many lives, including the lives of several celebrities. Speeding increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle. It also reduces your time to avoid a collision.

James Dean

James Dean might have been the most famous person to die in a car crash before Princess Diana. Dean died just before studios released the movies with his best acting performances. Dean’s acting earned him two posthumous Oscar nominations.

Dean was traveling to the racetrack to race his Porsche Spyder. A car turned left in front of him, and his vehicle crashed into the other car.

Dean had received a speeding ticket just before the accident. Accident investigators suspected he was traveling 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker is one of the highest-profile celebrities to die in a car accident in the 2000s. Walker starred in several action movies, including six films in the Fast & Furious franchise.

Walker died as a passenger in a car crash in 2013. The Porsche that Walker was riding in was traveling between 80 and 90 miles per hour when it left the road and struck a tree. The car then caught on fire. Both Walker and the driver died in the accident.

Colonel T.E. Lawrence

Colonel T.E. Lawrence was a British army officer, writer, and diplomat. He is also one of the few celebrities to die in a motorcycle accident.

Lawrence was riding on his motorcycle in Britain when he crested a hill. Two boys were in the road and Lawrence swerved to avoid them. He was thrown from the motorcycle and sustained a fatal head injury.

Although Lawrence’s motorcycle was capable of traveling more than 100 miles per hour, there was no evidence he was traveling at such a reckless speed. But he was traveling too fast for the conditions, since he could not see the boys at the top of the hill.

Lawrence was also unfortunate to have lived before the advent of motorcycle helmets. After Lawrence’s death, doctors in Britain began to study the benefits of requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Medical Incident

Medical incidents can lead to a car crash. Oftentimes, officials cannot assess any blame for these accidents, since medical incidents are usually not preventable.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly was an American actress before she married the Prince of Monaco and became royalty. She died in a car crash after sustaining a minor stroke. She lost control of her vehicle and drove down a 120-foot cliff.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has been a problem since cars were invented and often leads to tragedy.

Ernie Kovacs

One of America’s most famous comedians and TV show hosts, Ernie Kovacs, died in a car crash in 1962. Kovacs was killed when he was distracted by lighting his cigar while driving.

Celebrity Car Accidents

Dangerous driving behaviors, like impaired driving, distracted driving, and speeding, will claim lives regardless of who is behind the wheel. But by improving your driving habits, driving defensively, and wearing a seatbelt, you can reduce the chances you will have the same fate as these celebrities.